Energy Efficiency / Giveaways

Green Your Decor Energy Gauntlet, Week 5 (+Giveaway)


Earth Day is fast approaching, and we’re getting down to the wire on the Energy Gauntlet. The Sylvania Earth Day Challenge, 40 for the Future is in full swing, but we still have a good way to go to get to 40 million Kwh. So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t yet, head over to the challenge website and take a look at the small changes we can all make between now and Earth Day, and really every day. Then make your pledge! These changes may seem small, but all of us can collectively have a tremendous impact, and these are changes that will have a lasting impact, far beyond April 22. So make that pledge!

The Energy Gauntlet

As many of you know by now, I have challenged myself and all of you to do a room by room energy assessment of your home. How many items are plugged in all the time? What do you leave turned on (therefore drawing phantom power) that you could easily turn off or unplug? After today, we have just one week left to check in and show our attempts to improve our home’s energy efficiency. So for those of you who haven’t joined in yet, you still have a chance, and I’d love to hear from you! You’ll be entered to win a great prize package too, so scroll down to find out what you could win! Every reader who participates will get an entry to win for each week that you comment.

Here’s where things stand for my family. Not much has changed from last week, but for one important exception:

Living Room

  • Lamp (main light source)
  • NOTE: Our TV, Wii, DVD player and cable box are all plugged into a smart strip. What this means is that whenever we turn the TV off, that automatically cuts power to all the peripherals and shuts off the power strip.

Dining Room


Laundry Room

  • Washer & Dryer


  • Stove
  • Fridge
  • Microwave (built-in)

Home Office/Studio

  • Speakers
  • Mac desktop
  • External hard drive

NOTE: They are all plugged in to a surge protector, which we have begun turning off at night. We’ve forgotten a couple of nights, but for the most part, we’ve been pretty good about turning everything off.

Daughter’s Bedroom

  • TV & cable box (we’ve begun turning off the surge protector when she’s not watching it, and she almost never does)
  • Lamp (main light source)
  • LED Nightlight (only comes on at night)

Master Bedroom

  • Internet modem
  • 2 lamps (main light source)

NOTE: The TV, DVD player and cable box in our master are now plugged into a smart strip, which means we need only to turn off the TV to cut power to all the other peripherals. That does mean some added startup time while we wait for the cable box to reconnect when we turn it back on, but it’s worth the wait, in my opinion.

Next Wednesday is our final day! I’ve been enjoying our weekly check-ins, and having to write it all down has kept me accountable. It’s sort of like keeping a food journal when you’re on a diet. Seeing it all listed in front of me makes the impact of all these items so much more real! The final check-in will be next Wednesday, April 21. I’m still holding out hope that more of you will participate!


Ready to find out what you can win if you participate in the Green Your Decor Energy Gauntlet? An awesome green home prize package! The winner will receive:


  • ActiveIon Pro: This is an awesome little machine that allows you to clean and sanitize your home with nothing but cold tap water. I’m not kidding. I was skeptical of this description at first too, but I have been using my own ActiveIon Pro for months, and I love it! It’s a funny-looking piece of machinery, but I use it to clean my kitchen counters and stove, and even splatter from the walls. It’s great for hard surfaces in the bathroom as well. So how exactly does it work? It’s a tough process to explain, but basically, the ActiveIon ionizes the water, which allows you to clean and sanitize without any cleaning products. Bill Nye the Science guy can explain it better than I can. It doesn’t get much greener than cleaning with just water! You can read more about it here. Value: $299!
  • A smart strip: These power strips come with a control jack. You can plug your TV, computer, or any other major appliance into this port. Then when you turn off said appliance, it will cut power to the entire strip, simultaneously turning off anything else that’s plugged into it and reducing your use of ghost power. This is particularly useful when you have lots of peripherals like DVD players, video game consoles, printers, etc. Note: The image above is an example of the type of strip you will receive. The one you actually get may differ, but will serve exactly the same purpose. Value: $30
  • Energy efficient light bulbs: You’ll receive two 2-packs of Sylvania’s brand new SUPERSAVER Halogen bulbs and two 2-packs of their Living Spaces CFLs

If that doesn’t give you a boost in making your home greener, I don’t know what will! And I may still add more to the prize package, so be sure to enter every week! The more people who participate, the more likely I’ll be to make the giveaway even bigger and better, and I’m even considering some stylish green decor items! For each week that you check in, you will receive an entry, for a maximum of 5 entries (since noone entered during the first week). For your entries to count, you must:

  • Tell me what you did to participate in the Sylvania 40 for the Future Challenge (You only have to do this once. Subsequent entries can include just your list of the following:)
  • List all the items in your home that are plugged in all the time, and show an effort to reduce your energy usage each week. In other words, the point is that you have fewer items plugged in during the last week than you did during the first week.

The giveaway entry period starts today and will continue through Wednesday, April 21 at 11:59 p.m. The winner, who will be randomly selected from all entries, will be announced on Earth Day, April 22. U.S. mailing addresses only!

I hope all of you are as excited about this as I am, because it really has the potential to improve the energy efficiency of all our homes. I can’t wait to read all your entries!

(sponsored opportunity): Full disclosure: I am being compensated by Sylvania for my time in participating in and promoting the 40 for the Future Challenge. And anyone who knows me knows that I wouldn’t participate if I didn’t believe it was truly an opportunity to make a difference, however small.

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Marci
    April 15, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Tell me what you did to participate in the Sylvania 40 for the Future Challenge: I changed light bulbs today!, dried dishes on air dry with dishwasher, unplugged non used electric plugs, use warm and cold water in washing machine, use low flow showerhead.

    List all the items in your home that are plugged in all the time, and show an effort to reduce your energy usage each week: 4 TVs, 3 computers, 6 lamps, toaster, coffee pot, coffee grinder, pencil shaperner, Washer and Dryer, Fridge, Freezer, Baby Monitor, 1 pod charger, 2 phone chargers, pond heater, curling iron, and shaver.

    I have now unplugged the pencil sharpener, 2 tvs, and the pond heater.

    Week 4:
    I found a couple of more things that were plugged in that don’t need to be. Postage Scale, radio, weight scale, and one printer that isn’t used. I unplugged all those and will only plug them in on a need to use basis.

    I have used ONLY reusuable bags at the grocery store and even get a small refund everytime I do….Yipee!

    Week 5:
    OK this is our last and final week.
    I have certainly become more aware of what I’m being wasteful with. I had thought I was pretty good at being green but boy have you opened my eyes. This was a great project to really test my greenness.

    I have also included my daughters in this project. We talked about being green and what it means.


  • Joanna R
    April 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    we changed our 20-yer old appliances with new energy efficient ones. our electricity bill started to go down. we bought CFLs for all the rooms and unplugged everything that we don’t use: TV, DVD player, chargers.
    things plugged in all the time: refrigerator, microwave. we started to unplug the computers until the batteries are almost dead and only then we start to charge them again.
    this week i went green by using reusable bags while hubby uses the bike instead of the car. 🙂


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